Illinois Casinos Down 2.5% to $270m in FY 2017

Illinois Casinos Down 2.5% to $270m in FY 2017For the 2017 financial year, the 10 casinos based in Illinois saw their collective revenues shrink by around 2.5% to $270 million, representing a $7 million drop compared to the previous fiscal year. In the meanwhile, video gambling terminals (VGTs) located in liquor selling bars and eateries across the state’s saw their revenue soar by 17.5% to $296 million, marking a huge $44 million improvement year-on-year.
As a result, VGT taxable revenue has surpassed that of casino gambling for the very first time since being introduced back in 2012, with the surprising development coming despite the number of terminals in Illinois only increasing by 12.5% over the same period. Their numbers still continue to grow, though, and while there were 26,783 VGTs in 6,124 venues statewide in FY2017, over the past three months that figure has now risen to 27,681 terminals in 6,249 businesses throughout the state.
Despite representing a boost to state coffers, the proliferation of VGTs is not being welcomed by everyone, with Anita Bedell, executive director of the Illinois Church Action on Alcohol and Addiction Problems, warning:
“It’s especially dangerous for those who are having problems with gambling, and it’s very difficult for them to resist the temptation. People who might have only gambled when they went to Las Vegas, all they have to do now is walk down the street.”
Meanwhile, the state of Pennsylvania has also been considering introducing VGTs recently in order to help plug its $2.2 billion budgetary deficit, with the latest results out of Illinois likely to persuade many legislators there as to the validity of such a move.
When the state’s other gambling activities are included in the financial results, Illinois’s gambling market was worth $1.31 billion in FY2017, higher by 7.9% versus the previous fiscal year, and the largest amount since $1.37 billion was collected back in 2007.
Accounting for a huge part of total revenue was the Illinois Lottery, which generated $738 million in 2017, up by 8.5% year-on-year, and helped along by the state being just one of four which permits the sale of lottery tickets online. Business from the Illinois horse racing industry, on the other hand, stayed flat during the 12 month period, and accounted for a mere $6 million of total revenue.

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